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“Fuck it, I’m going in,” I said, dropping trou on the shore and splashing into the sea. Orion’s belt reflected off the small waves, and the water was so clear we could see the scalloped sand underneath our feet. The ocean was bracing but not freezing, and the moon was nearly full. Joseph and Micah looked at each other but hardly hesitated to strip and follow me in, and the three of us — hairy Colorado sea bears — painfully pale and naked in the moonlight, dove into the ocean, laughing and whooping and splashing around. It was 1am, and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2019 at The Dating Dad
We’d had ourselves another epic road trip; the snacks, the singing, the laughing, the requisite rest stops. We’d survived the rolling, wide open plains of Wyoming and the brushfire that was just crossing the highway as we drove through it. We’d watched the sun set three or four times over various western mountains as we sidled into Helena, MT for steak dinner perfection (cooked up by my sister) and an ice cold Manhattan (stirred, not shaken, by my brother-in-law). We’d driven the verdant stretch of beauty that is western Montana, a sliver of Idaho, and eastern Washington (forested mountains, serpentine... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2018 at The Dating Dad
I’m on a plane, flying over the Western Slope of Colorado on a classic, hazy summer day, light and airy clouds playing under the wing like wispy dolphins, the high sun baking the tan expanses of farmland and prairie below us. One of my closest friends is getting married tomorrow morning at City Hall in San Francisco, and I’m excited to be with him as he takes this next big step in his life. Christopher and I met 16 years ago because my baby sister saw a craigslist ad for an editor to help launch a local magazine. She sent... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2018 at The Dating Dad
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We’re on a train in Japan again. After I came home from studying in France, I had dreams for years that I was back there, living with my French family again, enjoying the food and lifestyle I’d learned to love. I’d find myself crying in some of the dreams, so overjoyed to be with my family and back in France. Turns out Simone had similar dreams about Japan, starting just a few days after our adventure back in 2014. And she hasn’t stopped thinking, or talking, or studying about the country, its food, literature, and language, since. So when we... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2018 at The Dating Dad
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I’d finally found a moment to take a breath, sit down for a sec, and strategize how to complete my to-do list in the next two hours, before more than a dozen guests started showing up at the house, expecting to be fed. I still wanted to run down the street to my office and print out readings I’d found, make the matzah balls for the soup, cut the crudités, and set the table. And for the first Passover in years, I felt like I was ahead of the game. Which was weird, because Simone wasn’t around to help me;... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2018 at The Dating Dad
Honestly, it took Simone asking, “Dad, why are you so angry?” for me to realize just how out of sorts and not myself I’ve been the last several weeks — my seasonal doldrums had taken on a surly, frustrated shade, and I’d ignored the signs, attributing my endless internal monologues to the stress of a new calendar year. We were driving in traffic on a wintry Thursday afternoon, coin-sized flakes of snow lazily blanketing the windshield. We weren’t in any particular hurry, but I was still grousing about the shitty Denver drivers — the car in front of us in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2018 at The Dating Dad
We were cleaning up after our healthy dinner of pan-fried mahi mahi, sautéed brussels, and steamed rice — it was our first meal together in nearly a week, and our first real chance to catch up after winter break. Simone’s mom had picked her up after our NYE trip to SF, and then it was my off-duty weekend and my kid-free days, so we hadn’t communicated much beyond our daily text messages and sharing stuff that entertained us via Instagram and Twitter DMs. I’m super-sensitive to the time I have with the girl now, and even though I try to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2018 at The Dating Dad
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Quick request: Today is the last day of the month of #Movember, where I grow a big, hairy mustache to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues — prostate and testicular cancer, along with mental health and suicide prevention. I’ve been doing this for several years, and it became more poignant for me after losing my dad. Some people love the ‘stache, and some hate it, but that’s part of the fun during the 30 days that it grows from a bit o’ scruff to a full-on disaster. You still have time to donate into December, if you’d like... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2017 at The Dating Dad
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It’s been a tough one for me to acknowledge, and my first instinct was to slip across the threshold quietly, with minimal fuss. But my sibs and friends wouldn’t let that happen. So there we were, in a multi-bedroom, four story mountain house in Vail, drinking cocktails, cooking together, laughing, and celebrating. My sisters teamed up with my pal Joey to find a rental, and get a crowd up the hill, and my middle sister, Sarah, and her husband raided Costco for enough food to keep us noshing all weekend long. That Friday morning, after I dropped Simone off at... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2017 at The Dating Dad
Things were going so well. Simone had already managed to drive us down the busy highway and along crowded surface streets, even picking her way through a hectic parking lot. She was finally getting it, and feeling more and more confident. Over the course of the last couple of months, the color of my knuckles had gone from icy white to a more human shade of pale. We’d finished up at the snow sports equipment sale and had stopped in at Hmart, buying weird stuff we didn’t need because we’d made the mistake of getting there hungry. And we had... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2017 at The Dating Dad
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We were driving over a bridge out of downtown Vancouver in a borrowed Mini Cooper S, open sunroof spilling light all over us, our bellies full of Canadian poutine, snacking on local cherries from a farmer’s market and spitting the pits out the window, music from a cool French pop station on the radio. Simone was smiling in the passenger seat, her short hair whipping about, no phone in her hand, totally in the moment. We were on a ferry from Whidbey Island to the mainland, the Mini safely parked on a ramp belowdecks, our bellies full of mussels, which... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2017 at The Dating Dad
It was my own damn fault that Simone was brooding and insufferable by the time we got to the brunch place on Father’s Day. With an 11:30am reservation, I was up early enough to make myself a dirty chai, but she’d slept in and literally showered and dressed just in time for us to leave the house and walk the mile or so into town. So by the time we were seated, she was hot and sweaty, with a pasty sheen of unabsorbed sunscreen along one side of her nose and across her chin. Between the low blood sugar and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2017 at The Dating Dad
“BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE!” Simone slammed on the brakes a mere inches from a small sedan parked on the side of the road. If she’d stopped any later, she would have taken a layer of paint and the side mirror off the other car. I caught my breath and had her get out and physically look just how close she had come to her first accident. “Let’s switch for a second,” I said, “so I can get you out of this.” I slowly backed the car out of danger and pulled to the side of the road so... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2017 at The Dating Dad
There was no escaping the spattering of spring rain as we exited the subway, the midnight dazzle of Times Square at our backs, gusts of chill blossoming our light jackets. But that wasn’t enough to hinder our decision to stop and take a selfie; my two sisters, Simone, and one of my nephews all laughing and smiling long enough to get a few shots off before hustling back to the hotel, shivering and damp. We were in town for a cousin’s bar mitzvah, and though we didn’t get a ton of time together, the fun moments of pure sibling hilarity... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2017 at The Dating Dad
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The trees in front of our house are in bloom again. Every spring, for just a few, ephemeral days, the branches light up in blossoms of blazing white, their bright perfume the first thing I smell when I step out onto my front stoop in the morning. It’s glorious, and for Simone and me, it’s an olfactory welcome into the warmer seasons. For some reason, spring’s recent arrival has opened up a sense of optimism and a tenderness in me that I can’t completely explain. Simone turned 17 a little more than a week ago, which was both surreal and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2017 at The Dating Dad
It snuck up on me this time. I probably should have seen the signs that I knew, unconsciously, that the anniversary was coming up. The absent-mindedness. The sense of fatigue even after a solid 10 hours of sleep. How someone could be talking to me, telling me a story or asking me a question, and I’d be somewhere else without even realizing it (phone in my pocket, eyes on the person, but somehow just not there). The poor judgment and misbehavior. The way my motivation would be 100% — moving with purpose, getting shit done, and then I’d stall out... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2017 at The Dating Dad
I didn’t wake up angry. Sure, maybe I was a little despondent about waking up alone, on a perfectly cold and cloudy Saturday morning, slivers of light peeking under the window shades, a ribbon of gray hiding under the door. It was probably near noon, and I was cozy and snoozy under a puffy white comforter, in no hurry to be vertical. Yes, it would have been much nicer with company; someone to snuggle with for a little longer, to offer a dirty chai and maybe a bit o’ breakfast while we curled up under a blanket on the couch... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at The Dating Dad
It was a late summer evening, the nights finally cooling down to the point where a light jacket was finally a good idea. The air still felt warm, but the slightest chill would ripple across bare arms, teasing up goosebumps and tiny shivers. We were on our second date, and she took my hand as we crossed the busy street. But she continued to hold it as we walked up the block to the restaurant. She asked me if it was okay, and I couldn’t figure out a polite way to say no. After a dozen or so steps, I... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2016 at The Dating Dad
I’d call the last month an emotional rollercoaster ride, but rollercoasters are fun, with every peak and drop a thrill. This last month has not been that; it’s been a rolling landscape of depression, complacency, outrage, resignation, and disbelief. I’ve been writing pieces of this November (quick plug: aka #Movember, please donate?) column over the course of the last few weeks, unable to figure out where it should go. On Election Day, my buddy and I were well into our work and play boondoggle in Chicago. He had meetings there and I had new biz opportunities, so we'd flown out... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at The Dating Dad
I’ll never forget the feeling, after another night of fitful sleep, stomach cramps twisting me inward, folded into myself, the pain just as bad as it had been three days earlier, when I’d woken up feverish and uncomfortable, and managed to drive Simone to preschool, stop at Safeway for gatorade and soup, and drag myself up to bed to crawl under the covers and shiver. Three days either in bed or on the bathroom floor, living off of tea and chicken broth, alone and in agony. My friends at the time either didn’t have an easy way to get all... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2016 at The Dating Dad
If you’ve been solo for any length of time, you probably get this question (or some variant) often. It’s usually precluded by sweet, well-intentioned aphorisms about your many charms (which you awkwardly accept with a self-deprecating nod of the head), and then followed by “You’re such a catch!” It’s unlikely you have a cogent response that anyone actually wants to hear, so you either go for the easy answer… I just haven’t met the right one yet. I’ve been more focused on work/parenting/projects/travel/living my life. I don’t know! Do you have any single friends? Or you go for self-effacing… You’re... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2016 at The Dating Dad
My father and mother were teenagers when they first started dating in 1960s Wilmington, Delaware. The story of how they met — how my father rescued her from a bad date at a BBYO dance in a hotel ballroom (or something like that), how the guy who’d brought my mom was indifferent to her until my father asked her to dance, and how my dad stepped up to him when he suddenly got possessive — is a family legend. But the story that is still told again and again takes place a little later, when my mother’s twin sister didn’t... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2016 at The Dating Dad
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It had been a long, intense day of travel, after airplane maintenance delays (two of them), several cancelled flights (at least three), an unscheduled tarmac layover without A/C, and an impromptu decision to get off the plane in another city, rent a car, and drive three hours to our destination. So by the time a pal and I made it to the condo on the beach in Corpus Christi for our friend’s bachelor weekend, we were both wrung out and exhausted. The guest of honor and several other gents were still in transit, but a few guys had already settled... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2016 at The Dating Dad
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I wasn’t sure I could go through with it, even as I left the house that afternoon and walked down the block to a car2go. A group of dudes was drinking on the balcony of the Airbnb overlooking the street, but I didn’t hear any comments while I waited for the car to communicate with the mothership and unlock itself. I can’t remember the last time I was so self-conscious about my appearance. But it was going to be damn hot at the downtown music festival, and a kilt seemed like a solid move to stay cool. Anybody who knows... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2016 at The Dating Dad
July. Simone is sitting in front of me, in a two-person kayak, floating down the Missouri River. The water is dimpled with sunlight, and the sky is so blue, it makes my heart ache — the moment is ephemeral, halcyon, too perfect. My younger nephew, Max, comes splashing over from the canoe where my middle sister is navigating around the little grassy islands that speckle the river, and as he pulls himself up onto the tail of our boat, causing the kayak to rock and sway, Simone braces herself and shouts at him to be careful. I almost, but don’t,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2016 at The Dating Dad